Being ordained as deacon on Friday evening is Sophie Troczynska.

For as long as Sophie can remember the church has been a part of her life. From a young age she attended with her parents and quickly became used to colleting hymn and service books, moving chairs and helping to lead intercessions among other things.

While actively involved with church life, it was at high school that Sophie’s faith really developed. “I started attending the fellowship group at the school and through various activities, worship, and discussions with others my own age, my faith became more than an intellectual understanding and developed into an encompassing awareness of what and who I believed in. It didn’t take long for me to feel this change and it was in my first year in high school that I changed from asking my parents ‘when do people get confirmed’ to ‘can I get confirmed’.”

Sophie moved to the South West ten years ago, studying at Plymouth College of Arts. “I started to attend my local church in Torpoint. At the beginning I found it difficult to juggle the different commitments that I had and found myself not attending church as often as I would have liked. While I tried to supplement this with my own personal prayer life, I found that I missed regularly being at church and being an active member of the community.”

It was this that spurred Sophie on and she was soon involved with the practical sides of the church and was added to the welcoming and tea and coffee rotas.

Sophie’s journey to ordination first surfaced when she was a teenager. “I had felt that God was calling me to do something, but at the time I didn’t know what. I initially thought that it was to become a teacher and to be a witness to God’s love in an educational environment.”

“God was telling me no”

So, it was a bit of a shock in the last year of her art degree when praying about what course to study and where, that the response she received was ‘no’. “It was such a strong sense of God telling me this that I had to stop and found myself unable to send in the application forms. ‘No’ God was telling me, but at that point I had no idea what I should have been doing instead.”

While searching for work and praying about what she should do Sophie became more and more involved with church and felt called to join the Street Pastors. “I was inspired by the idea of living my faith out to the people I would encounter on the streets among a group of people who were putting aside differences in opinions to exhibit their faith together.”

When St James’ received a curate, Sophie got involved in starting a youth group with her, aimed at the youth already attend services in the benefice. “We started with a Youth Alpha series and developed using the structure onto bible studies. I felt that it was a good way to start a new group, encouraging the youth to talk to one another while giving us some understanding about where their faith was. It was really uplifting to see them open up to each other and to see their faith begin to grow to encompass more of their lives then Sunday morning.”

“I wasn’t ready to say yes to that calling yet”

Sophie says that when her priest asked if she had ever considered ordination, she felt unable to say no. “But I wasn’t ready to say yes to that calling just yet.”

Sophie was quickly given information about an internship program being run by the Diocese of Truro allowing people to explore their callings while living in the community. “It wasn’t about knowing where you were heading straight away but about being open to following the call of God, about taking time to focus on what He was saying and gaining experience of the types of ministry within the church. While there were challenges that come with community living, the internship was a fulfilling experience, allowing me to explore my calling, offering support and challenging me in the ways I needed to grow.”

For the last three years Sophie have been training residentially at Ripon College Cuddesdon, just outside Oxford. She says: “Living among other ordinands and their families has been a wonderful opportunity to continue to discern and develop my own faith in God. I am now looking forward to joining the Mount’s Bay United Benefice.”